look at me go

i’m already working on page 43. it helps when i already have the dialogue ready to go, the storyline. then i can get to work faster.

plus i need to stay off of facebook because i’m starting trouble over there. or that’s what it feels like to introverted me when i speak out about something i feel strongly about. well, my brother hasn’t unfriended me yet….

i love the way the page looks when it is all just clean little lines like this. my next step…who can say it with me? ink & then more ink! yes. i do ink brush shading & tones next. then i finish by roughing up & darkening some of those clean little lines.

so that’s what i’m posting today. the clean page 43 before i ink the crap out of it.

sylvia plath, lynda barry, and a sheep named tyler durden

i am going to get some pages of moses jones done. i really really am. i have been busy…a bit suicidal…depressed…and busy.

i would be lying if i said i had been working on this zine that i started by drawing the cover. although i have worked a bit on an essay about john irving and also lynda barry. but that is all. and i did this journal page thinking about doing some ink brush paintings of livestock:

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livestock!
so now i have ten chickens and four sheep. i have a tendency to just wing it in many areas of my life. like i never seem to get adequate directions, do not have a smart phone or gps, yet constantly set out on adventures saying, “we’ll find it.” so i got chickens before i had a coop built. i got dogs before making sure my chickens would not be harassed by them. and i got sheep before i had a fenced pasture. long story short. i have lost one rooster to an over-zealous herd dog and have poisoned one sheep by not researching very well and just thinking, “it’ll be fine.” strange that someone as neurotic as me would be so okay with winging it. but i am. another example of my oxymoronity.

we named our sheep after favorite characters from favorite movies. i got to name the ram. i really wanted to name him tyler durden…but decided on harold (from harold & maude) because i was afraid a sheep named tyler durden might be prone to fighting as well as challenging the status quo. but harold the ram got really sick after eating something (acorns? toxic lambsquarters? too much chicken food?) and was looking awful. so i re-re-named him tyler durden and “drenched” (which means to force liquids on–not to douse with a hose!) him with apple cider vinegar and began my journey towards being a holistic shepherd.

but it is my depression more than anything that has crippled my creative process. i read something recently that said that depression is “living in the past.” you know, with anxiety being “living in the future.” i can see that…but my problem is my depression is a current event. i am very unhappy–not with my homestead…but with my live-in ex-husband. aka dusty knickers. he is happy to live at my folks place, contributing only when he sees the whites of my eyes, and otherwise playing video games and being a pain in the ass. i don’t know how to get him to move on…move out…move! i have come to peace with some things–like that it is not my job to let him know he is an asshole…but i do not know how to find peace with him always here. always being dusty.

but i have not taken the sylvia plath route. mostly because of what it would do to my kids. i decided that suicide is something best done when you are young and childless. i passed my open window of opportunity in 1998 (the last time i seriously contemplated suicide but ended up marrying some guy i just met instead. marriage & suicide are on about the same level for me, i guess. ha!) now i have four kids and have to commit to being here no matter how painful it is.

yay.

so i’m putting together this zine. you can be in it if you want. right now it is in a very loose stage of development. but, you know, art–poetry–essays.
and i’m still working on all my other projects: moses jones, lizard brain, whimsy, one up on sylvia plath, space aliens & serial killers…. kids, homestead, survival, etc. you know the drill. and reading, always reading. i totally recommend david wong. but most recently i finally read lynda barry’s notes of an accidental professor. as you may or may not know, i attended uw where she teaches, but somehow i never made it into her class despite her being an early influence for my comics. self-sabotage? fear of my heroes? just plain goofy? we had a nodding acquaintance, mostly because i took my kids to her monthly drawing jams…but i never became soul sisters with her even though my inner geek dreamed of this.
it’s a regret i have.
so i’m sending her a postcard.
you know, a moses jones postcard.
(who knows, maybe she will be my best friend forever after all.) a postcard, and then i will close that chapter and open a new one.

page 3 of lizard brain

so i started this page weeks ago.
then one of my dogs tore up the page. i adopted two sisters of a cattle dog persuasion. they are only half grown and are so naughty. between their shopping on my desk and my kids’s shopping on my desk, it’s a wonder i get any pages out at all.

also,
depression.
even though i am doing a comic about the destructive voices in my head, it is still difficult to do said artwork when i am depressed. overwhelmed. generally ready to crawl in a hole and never come out.

i’m not sure what happens next. maybe i will get some moses jones done. i have been hankering to work on that comic for awhile.
also! i started playing with a story i started when my niece was like 4. that niece has now graduated from college. so maybe i should finish my story, at least.
i wrote it as a screenplay.
i am adapting it to be prose…with pictures. not a graphic novel. just, you know, an illustrated story.
strangely, the dynamics of the two main characters (written, like i said, 20 years ago?) are reflective of the dynamics between my ex & i. you know, dusty. the male lead even looks like him. i wrote it before i started doing more autobiographical fiction. he came out of my imagination. fuck, maybe i predicted him…or worse, maybe i wrote him into existence. yikes.

speaking of the topic of autobiographical fiction. i just finished reading john irving’s latest novel, the avenue of miracles. i love love love john irving. this novel, not so much. parts of it were amazing. other parts were half-hearted. but! he often discusses memoir fiction vs. fiction from the imagination. while reading it, i started writing an essay. i think i will eventually finish that essay that is not quite memoir…not quite pure imagination…but all me and how i feel while reading a john irving novel.

i think i had another point to make or story to share, but i had to stop typing to have a fight with my eight year old who seems to believe i am not allowed to live a life other than as his devoted and single-minded mother.

poop.

just me and my lizard brain…page two

i think i am exorcising some demons with this comic.
which is good.
i’m not sure how long this comic will end up being…
if it will be just one story,
or a continuing story.
but right now it is strong in my head
so i figure i should go with it.

i like the way the art turned out. i like using a different font. i developed the font i letter with in moses jones & other works in like..what..1998? 1999? so it is fun to use a different way of lettering with this comic. then, in a tribute to ralph steadman, i mess it up a bit. i like messy.
messy is fun.

also! i may have mentioned that i am putting my quixotic poetry together into a collection. well, i decided to put ALL of the poetry i can find that i have written over the years into that collection and to maybe try to find a publisher? maybe self publish? maybe enter it into a contest? but, fuck it, i am doing something. all that raw emotion & terrible verse just begs to be ridiculed by the public (haha!)

and i still want to be doing more ink brush painting. i think i need more paper. maybe that’s what my block is with that.
so i need to find an art store.
does anyone know any independent art stores in central illinois?

i’m here i’m here i’m here i’m here!

let’s recap.
last summer, a year ago this week, i was homeless for a month and a half while waiting for our new apartment to open up.
then at the new year, i packed up my four minions and moved two hours north of dusty to a different home.
then, this spring, my landlord/housemate asked me to leave so she could have the place to herself.
and i moved again.
this time to another state, to my childhood home, with dusty & the minions.
i wasn’t ready to live with dusty again.
but circumstances….
so now, though i think of moses jones & other projects every day, i have a new place to settle. land & house in serious need of care-taking. a yard & garden. a flock of chickens. two dogs who need training. four minions on hyper-drive as they try to adjust to the fourth move in a year….

i’m here though. never far away. treading water.

i am in the process of collecting all of my poetry from my other blog to put into a collection of sorts. then i will delete the bulk of that blog to convert it (once more) into a different blog. this time about the dysfunctional adventures of a homesteading family.

and i look at my barely started first page of just me and my lizard brain every day, sighing softly.

and i daydream about doing some fantastic & wildly popular chinese ink brush paintings of the central illinois landscape.

and mojo. i think about mojo. her humble beginnings, her journey thus far, and her future in the graphic novel world….

stark raving whimsy: hilda’s dilemma

i finished my second wall piece of whimsy. i am also going to use these wall pieces for my digital media class.

i am making an “alter ego website” for that class. i am creating bluejean’s website, should she have one. which made me realize the best way to present these large pieces–video. reading rainbow style narrated videos of the story. the trickiest part so far is the background noise every time i try to record…screaming minions. also! getting the picture flat and easily recorded. i might have to do it at my drawing class, after class. i have my critique tomorrow. so i could leave it hanging, wait for everyone to leave, and then video my piece, talking to myself (aka narrating) as i do it.

also! i need to scan in a bunch of art, using the university’s big scanners. speaking of art. i did put prices for a zine package on my “STORE: prints & zines” page. i am hoping my friend is still willing to do some website work for me. then i will have a better store for anyone so dedicated that they want to buy my stuff. i did mail zines off to a couple of fans/friends….

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they will arrive wrapped in plain brown wrapper–just like porn. if anyone else wants any–go to my store site. i will be notified of your paypal purchase & will promptly mail them off. just message addresses to me? my email is: emconnell@live.com…. see, i need to figure this out so it’s easier. soon…hopefully…soon.

meanwhile, the semester is almost over & everything…life, the universe, and me, are set to change–for the better!

as always, stay tuned!

so close!

i want to be done by the end of this weekend. i haven’t been able to work on it because i keep falling asleep at night.

damn my human need for sleep!

i am also working on a smaller piece that i just wanted to see what would happen…and i need to start my other large piece.

oh! and paper mache myself.

i need a parallel universe i can work on art in while i chase minions in this one. that would work, right?

hopefully i will have a finished shot, and some close-ups, for y’all by monday.

so much done…so much more to do

this is what i worked on last night while my children slept and gotham played on my laptop. i may have missed a few plot turns in gotham…but i got more of this project developed.

this project?
a large panel of stark raving whimsy. here is a few shots of my progress:

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these large pieces take a whole lot of time! i am used to just getting a page done in one or two sittings. i have spent several hours on this already. i hope to get a second one of these done before the end of the semester. plus! i really want to do a paper mache of my face & arm & upper chest to turn into a 3D bluejean casting that i can then make to look like bluejean but also draw a story onto.

progress depends on the sleep schedules of my children.

sleep. sleep, my little lovelies….

stark raving whimsy II

here is the next panel of stark raving whimsy. i think i am going to do three of these square panels and then do a larger piece like the big one of moses jones. these ones are kind of setting up the larger piece.

i am working towards creating a different kind of website. i guess with a blog. an art gallery. and a store. i am wondering about selling original pieces–postcards & cards mostly? and also doing prints, cards, and postcards of original works–more mass produced. i am wondering if i should use this domain name or my other alter ego “quixotic mama.” i want to be more aggressive about putting my stuff out there. maybe even create an actual book instead of just zines?

i am reading barbara winter’s book making a living without a job. i totally fit the profile of the joyfully jobless. i completely agree with making a life–not just a living. now i just need to make it manifest.

for further experimentation for my art class and in the interest of evolving my art, i think i will stop by the habitat for humanity re-store and find some random materials to try to put ink onto. that should be interesting.

so much to do!

so i am still working on the “epic” mojo. i think it will be a bit before it is done. a combination of finding the space & time and just the sheer size of it for inking, etc.

meanwhile! my critique was on wednesday. my professor kept citing me as an example (in a good way) to other students in their critiques. i felt a bit awkward about this…but it was flattering. for my critique he said, “this is great.” i thought he said, “this is gray,” and i was thinking, “but i added so much color!” he also told me i had a “good hand.” he seemed confused by the range of my subject matter–going from whimsical to grotesque. i think he suggested that i should sink into one style and steadfastly stay there–making it my own. so that when people were looking for that, they would come to me. he reinforced my belief that i should stick to my guns as a “luddite” graphic novelist. that my technique would eventually stand out among the digitized web-comics that dominate the scene. so it was all good. his one suggestion (other than not trending over into children’s art) was that i somehow combine it all. hey diddle diddle meets mama zombie slayer, so to speak. so i have been brainstorming that. then today, listening to the minions chatter, i heard the word “pirates” and had an “aha!” moment.

pirates! bluejean is a pirate. airships & monsters & pirates & zombie skeletons & color & chaos. i just have to think of a title…. but it is all there. mojo will stay mojo, & i will start a second graphic novel where it all comes together. wooly bear mammoths, squid, sea monsters, and lincoln trees….

i’m pretty excited about it.

and for mojo, i put the pages together, and all i need for my second zine is a cover.

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i will work on that in class this week if not before. then to the printers! for zine fest i will have episode one & two zines. plus! i will have prints of hey! diddle diddle, lincoln tree, bluejean, wooly bear mammoth, and moses jones banishes dusty. and i will find out how the public feels about my art. or not. either way, i am putting myself out there & taking a chance. and that is good.